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Review CornerSoftware
3rd & 4th Grade Excelerator
Rating: Rating
The Bottom Line
This economical 2 CD-ROM set offers a math program that is equally entertaining and educational. The language arts CD-ROM is a powerful tool for children who enjoy writing, but is more appropriate for children in grade 5 and up.
 Award of Excellence
Ages: 8-12   Subject: Math/Logic; Reading/Pre-reading/Spelling  Brand: Topics Entertainment
Review Sections: Product Overview  Technically Speaking  Skills Covered  Educational Value  Entertainment Value  Design  Replayability  Dollar Value
Awesome Animated Monster Maker Math Product Overview
This package includes 2 CD-ROMs: Awesome Animated Monster Maker Math and Step into Reading & Creative Writing.

Awesome Animated Monster Maker Math features a creative combination of educational and entertainment elements. In this program, children solve math problems and puzzles in order to help monsters retrieve a stolen "Monsterpiece" from their Art Gallery. As they build "hero" monsters that take on animated life, and embark on missions to reclaim the stolen art, children exercise their brains in wonderful ways. An admirable 6 levels choose to from (corresponding to grade levels 1-6) as well as excellent customization options contribute to a well-rounded, versatile program. See our full review of this program for more details.

Step Into Reading & Creative Writing is a previously released title by an Australian company. The tools that it offers are really quite rich, although children expecting an edutainment game will be disappointed. Best for children who have a serious interest in writing, this CD-ROM offers tips on how to become a good writer, as well as wonderful resources that include sample stories and poetry, a dictionary, story starters, grammar explanations, "Top Secret Notes" for jotting down ideas and notes, a writing editor, a planner, Story Mapping (a method for constructing narratives with the help of visual mapping), and more. This program offers kids a chance to develop their vocabulary, organize their work, and learn many tips that will help them develop and perfect their writing skills.

The language arts program is best for children a little older than the target age group, and the multi-level math CD-ROM is appropriate for children from first to sixth grade.

All in all, this is a strong package that provides plenty of learning opportunities.

Technically Speaking
Minimum system requirements are Windows 95 and higher, Pentium 166 MHz or higher, 32 MB of RAM, and CD-ROM drive. Mac users require a PowerPC 120 MHz or higher, System 8.1 or higher, 32 MB RAM, and CD-ROM drive. The set requires 8 MB of hard drive space. A printer is optional.

Skills Covered
mutliplication, division, comparisons, rounding numbers, negative numbers, math drill, logical thinking, problem solving, estimation, measurement, odd/even numbers, navigational directions, addition/subtraction, place value, listening skills, literary writing techniques, grammar, vocabulary, creativity, imagination, memory, spelling.

Educational Value
The math CD-ROM in this package is a delightful exercise in mathematical thinking and problem solving. It features an admirable range in styles of activities (both directed and open-ended), as well as educational focus. The language arts CD-ROM offers an exceptional toolbox for young writers looking to organize and improve their writing skills.

Entertainment Value
Children are sure to enjoy the math program's quirky goals and characters -- kid testers ranging from ages 7-11 found the program engaging. The writing CD-ROM is best for children who are serious about improving their composition skills.

The parental controls and nice range of difficulty levels in the math program make it appropriate for a wide range of children. This title is a linear adventure, and the challenges adjust automatically according to a child's performance. Wonderful options are also featured in the Step Into Reading & Creative Writing CD-ROM.

The math CD-ROM has withstood the test of time in terms of appeal and replay value. The content is rich and fun, and the challenges grow along with a child's developing skills.

Dollar Value
This package is economical and valuable at a retail price of approximately $10 US.

Released: 2002
Reviewed: May 2002